The Duke of York was born at Buckingham Palace on 19 February 1960, the first child born to a reigning monarch for 103 years. He is the second son and third child of the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Christened Andrew Albert Christian Edward, he was titled The Prince Andrew until his marriage in 1986, when he was created The Duke of York by Queen Elizabeth II. Prince Andrew was educated at Heatherdown Preparatory School in Ascot and Gordonstoun School in Morayshire, Scotland.
On 23 July 1986 Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey. The Duke and Duchess of York’s first child, Princess Beatrice, was born on 8 August 1988 at The Portland Hospital in London. Their second child, Princess Eugenie, was also born at The Portland Hospital on 23 March 1990. The Princesses are tenth and twelfth in the line of succession respectively. In March 1992, it was announced that The Duke and Duchess of York were to separate. They were divorced in 1996.
Service in the Royal Navy
Prince Andrew wanted to become a helicopter pilot from an early age. In 1979, upon completion of A-levels, he joined the Royal Navy on a short-service commission as a Seaman Officer, sub-specialising as a Pilot. Midshipman Prince Andrew passed out of Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth in 1980, before undergoing fixed-wing and helicopter flight training at RAF Leeming and Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose respectively. In 1981, Prince Andrew was presented with his ‘Wings’ and the award for the best pilot by The Duke of Edinburgh.
Sub Lieutenant Prince Andrew converted to the Sea King helicopter, before joining his first front-line unit: 820 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) embarked in HMS INVINCIBLE. In April 1982 the unit sailed as part of the Task Group to the South Atlantic to regain the Falkland Islands. During the conflict Prince Andrew flew missions including Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW), inter-ship Helicopter Delivery (HDS), Search and Rescue (SAR) and casualty evacuation. Upon return to Portsmouth in September 1982, HMS INVINCIBLE was met by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
The Duke of York's active service with the Royal Navy spanned twenty-two years during which, as Lt Cder The Duke of York, he was selected to command the Hunt Class Mine Counter Measures Vessel HMS COTTESMORE. The Duke returned to flying duties, taking up an appointment as Senior Pilot of 815 NAS at RNAS Portland, where he served until October 1996. In January 1997, he was appointed to the Ministry of Defence as a Staff Officer in the Directorate of Naval Operations. Promoted Commander in 1999, he took up an appointment within the Naval Staff, before departing from active service with the Royal Navy in July 2001.
Role as Special Representative for International Trade and Investment and other work
After completing his military career, The Duke was invited to take up a new position as the United Kingdom’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. Working with Her Majesty’s Government, and specifically UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the role involved promoting Britain as a destination for inward investment, and creating favourable conditions for UK businesses exporting and investing overseas. The Duke undertook this role for almost a decade, until 2011.
The Duke of York then concentrated his activity on three core areas: education and skills, entrepreneurship and science, technology and engineering.
In 2014 The Duke of York founded Pitch@Palace, which brought together entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas to a roomful of potential supporters from the business community.
The Duke also founded a number of awards, including the Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA), which helps you develop digital, enterprise and employability skills for free.
Following 22-years of service with the Royal Navy, The Duke also had an active interest in supporting military organisations and charities.
Supporting the Monarch
In January 2022, Buckingham Palace made a statement announcing that, with the late Queen Elizabeth II's approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages were returned to her Majesty, and The Duke will continue to not carry out public duties.
Below you can find more information about previous work carried out by The Duke of York in support of Queen Elizabeth II.
An important part of The Duke of York's role was to support Queen Elizabeth's work as Head of State. He did this through representing Her Majesty at events and visits in the UK and abroad; receiving Heads of State and Government officials, and attending state and ceremonial occasions.
The Duke of York would attend a number of important occasions each year which were led by Queen Elizabeth in order to show support for her role as Monarch. These include The Queen's Birthday Parade – also known as Trooping the Colour – in June each year; the national Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph in London, and The Queen's Garden Parties, which gave him the opportunity to meet members of charities, organisations and military personnel from across the Commonwealth. Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie have both previously accompanied their father to both Trooping the Colour and Garden Parties.
The Duke also represented Queen Elizabeth II during visits to Commonwealth and overseas countries. To mark Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee in 2012, The Duke of York represented Her Majesty on a visit to India, travelling to New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Kohima.
Whilst in India, The Duke visited the Agragami Project - which aims to improve the lives of some of Delhi's most vulnerable families – as well as meeting key business leaders and visiting educational and military organisations. He became the first member of the Royal Family to travel to Kohima - the capital of the North-Eastern Indian state of Nagaland - where he visited the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and paid tribute to Indian and British soldiers killed in the Battle of Kohima during World War II.
In 2015, The Duke of York represented Queen Elizabeth II at events in Singapore to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Independence. Whilst in Singapore, The Duke attended the city state's Golden Jubilee celebrations and a National Day Parade.
The Duke also represented Her Majesty at the opening ceremony of the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea in 2015 where he delivered a message from Queen Elizabeth, which sent her best wishes to all the athletes, saying:
'It is encouraging to see 24 countries from around the Pacific region, come together every four years through sport, to reinforce their common bonds and shared interests.'